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The Entrepreneurial Instinct

October 18, 2010

India has long been called a nation of entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is seen in every street of the country. From roadside vendors to the nearby kirana stores to the women who run boutiques from home, we see businesses that have soared heights with absolutely zero investments at times. And while small scale entrepreneurs are in abundance, the big success stories, to name a few, are Dhirubhai Ambani, the Tatas, Lakshmi Mittal and more recently, Narayana Murthy. In fact, it is often said that entrepreneurship runs in Indian genes.

But did any of these people really have a business plan when they started? Did they look for angel investors/venture capitalists, did they have clearly defined business plans or did they just follow their dream and let the rest take shape? While every entrepreneur follows his/her own formula, listed below are a few pointers that could serve you well when embarking on your entrepreneurial journey.

1. Be passionate: No matter what business you start and which industry you enter, if there is no passion, it will soon get reflected in your enterprise. While you may start many businesses, purely because they make good business sense and because you want to ride a particular trend wave, what will truly stay the test of time is the one where your heart is.

2. Provide value: Find out how you add value to your customers. Is it a special service that sets you apart or a unique product that you have created? Understand what you are selling and why and what gives it its USP.

3. Do research: It helps to create a test market before you launch. Getting a feel of how people respond to the idea, service or product before investing in it full throttle helps you mitigate the risk and gives you a more realistic picture of your scalability.

4. Stay focused: It always helps to be clearly defined and not give in to the temptation of doing too many things and being everything to everyone. While a lot of people may want to be end-to-end solutions providers, it may help to carve your niche and specialize in what you do. Very often, in business, saying no is more important than saying yes.

5. Start small: Maintain low operating costs, try not to be too high-tech initially, staying understaffed and outsourcing if needed, are a few ways to keep costs down and run efficiently. In short, cut the frills and keep it simple.

6. Ensure a steady cash flow: Most enterprises die out soon because of a shortage of funding. Before starting out, estimate an initial upfront capital requirement and ensure that the money flows, even while profits are sleeping. In the early days, one can focus on short-term projects with quick payment terms rather than blocking one’s funds and time on long-term projects.

7. Build a network: From service providers to public relations and even social media marketing, if there is anything that continues to work for companies, it is good networking. Not only do you pass the word around but also build a good database. However, once the relationship has started, be sure to maintain it with all the respect and attention that any relationship demands.

8. Embrace change: In a fast-changing scenario, where markets and customers are equally fickle, what works is your nimble-footedness, while running a business. Staying abreast of industry trends is thus important. Be quick to adopt new technology or change the end purpose of your product and service if need be. Re-branding, product redesign and packaging are other small ways of making changes in the look and feel of your enterprise.

9. Think new markets: The world is literally your oyster nowadays. The local-global boundaries have blurred and entering new markets has never been easier. There is nothing like a global presence to help you scale up your business. Locally as well, be adventurous enough to move from a tested market to an unexplored one.

10. Keep the faith: Sheer faith and patience see you a long way as an entrepreneur. Waiting to get your first big order, waiting for the right investor and even waiting to launch that revolutionary product — as an entrepreneur, the wait can sometimes seem eternal. At such times, the only thing that helps is your great belief and faith in your product and in yourself.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 24, 2010 4:50 pm

    Wow! what an idea ! What a concept ! Beautiful .. Amazing ? I usually don?t post in Blogs but your blog forced me to, amazing work.. beautiful ?

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